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Series: Studio Series
Allegiance: Maximal
Categories: Voyager
Year: 2023

Prelude: Apart from the Boss Monkey himself, Cheetor is probably the most well-known and established character from Beast Wars and his journey from wide-eyed kid to hardened veteran remains the best case of Transformers character development across all media. So naturally Cheetor is also a part of Rise of the Beasts and has received several new toy incarnations, including a Voyager-class figure in the Studio Series. So today we will take a look at this newest incarnation of the Little Cat. Let’s say go!

Robot Mode: First thing that came to mind when looking at Cheetor’s robot mode was that he does resemble the established character, but not really his most well-known incarnation from season 1. Studio Series Cheetor looks more like a cross between Beast Machines Cheetor and Transmetal 2 Cheetor. Still, character recognition established, check. This is clearly meant to be Cheetor, spots and all.

Cheetor is a very lean- and smooth-looking robot with amazingly good articulation. He has ankle tilt, a twisting hip, a fully articulated head, twisting wrists, full shoulder movement, everything. He can pull off a runner’s pose on one foot and all sorts of fighting poses with this spear, including holding it two-handed. The only slight downside here is that the connection of the two spear-halves is a bit loose. The spear doesn’t fall apart just by looking at it, mind you, but it could connect more solidly. When he doesn’t need it, the spear splits into two separate parts that he can store on his back, either pointing up or down, whichever you like best.

One other tiny thing: Cheetor has a butt-flap. It’s not nearly as noticeable as the one on RotB Optimus Primal, but it’s there. A nice little detail, though: when the butt flap is in optimal position, Cheetor’s beast mode tail lies flat against his back, looking almost like a spine. Nicely sculpted. The sculpting is very well done overall, by the way, from the spots on the chest to the shoulder pieces and the claws on his wrists. Bonus points for Cheetor’s bold decision to wear a cod piece that looks like the Maximal symbol.

Overall I really like this robot mode. It’s not one hundred percent perfect, but it looks great, can move great, and it nicely captures the character from the movie. So apart from some tiny nitpicks, very nicely done. Thumbs up.

Alternate Mode: Cheetor’s transformation into beast mode is the most basic one of all. He goes down on all fours, folds in the robot head, unfolds the beast head, and we’re done (barring a few more detail steps). It works, though, and gives us a pretty cool-looking techno-organic cheetah. The detailing looks just as good here as it does in robot mode, the weapons can still be stored on the back, and the rear legs (the robot mode legs) retain pretty much their full articulation. The tail is on a double joint, so you can move it into multiple different positions, too.

Now for the part that cost Cheetor a possible A-rating from me. In the front, the cheetah’s articulation is rather limited. The robot mode shoulders fold forward and tab into the cheetah’s neck. It gives us a sleek, natural-looking silhouette for the cheetah, but severely restricts both the neck’s movement, as well as that of the front legs. The front legs can move forward and backward, but there is zero side movement at the shoulders. The only way to give the cheetah side movement for the front legs is to unpeg the shoulder pieces from the neck, but then you have rather noticeable gaps in the cheetah’s neck and shoulder region.

And while the cheetah’s head sits in a ball-joint, you can really only twist the head around in a circle. No way to make it look up or down. The cheetah can open its mouth, sure, but I would rather have had some better neck movement or front leg movement, preferably both. So bottom line for the cheetah mode: looks great, but the articulation could definitely be improved.

Remarks: For all that he was one of the main characters in both Beast Wars and Beast Machines, Cheetor’s role in Rise of the Beasts was rather small. He was briefly seen on the Maximal’s original homeworld, he turned up alongside Optimus Primal and Rhinox when they met Airazor and the Autobots, and he kicked CGI drone butt in the final battle. That was pretty much it. Still, he got more of a screen presence than poor Rhinox, who never even got to speak.

As a figure Cheetor combines a brilliant robot mode with an average beast mode. Thankfully I’m a guy who is mostly focused on a good robot mode, so my disappointment about the cheetah mode is bearable. In comparison with the mainline RotB Cheetor figure, which is really just a retool of Kingdom Cheetor, this Studio Series figure is way closer to the on-screen character and certainly works well. Not perfect, but pretty good. Recommended to all Cheetor, Beast Wars, and Rise of the Beasts fans.

Rating: B+


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